30 Ideas That Prove Small Decks Can Be Beautiful and Functional

Make the most of your small space without sacrificing on style

A small deck with a shade tarp and a dining table underneath.

Delpixart / Getty Images

When you have dreams of a large and spacious deck, it can be difficult to find ideas and inspiration for making the most out of a small deck. However, if you design the space with your needs and lifestyle in mind, even the smallest deck can become a beautiful outdoor oasis that you will look forward to spending time in. To help get your creative juices flowing, we’ve rounded up some of the best examples of stylish and practical small decks we could find. Here are 30 small deck ideas that prove they can be beautiful and functional.

  • 01 of 30

    Use Floor Pillows for Extra Seating

    A small wooden deck with patio chairs, string lights, and floor cushions for seating.


    Using floor pillows in place of chairs is a great way to sneak in some extra seating without taking up valuable space. The cushions can be easily stacked or moved to the side if needed. Plus it’ll give your deck a cool boho-style feel (especially when paired with some stylish string lights).

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  • 02 of 30

    Add a Privacy Screen

    A small wood deck with a privacy screen on one end and an outdoor couch and chair.

    Lena Koller / Getty Images

    Adding a privacy screen to your small deck is a great way to make it feel more intimate and an extension of your living space. You can build your own privacy screen out of wood or lattice, or purchase pre-made screens that can be quickly and easily mounted on your deck.

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  • 03 of 30

    Fill It With Plants

    A small outdoor deck filled with plants and a small dining table.

    @chipsgardens / Instagram

    You don’t need a lot of space to start gardening and this green oasis by Ottawa-based gardener @chipsgardens proves it. He makes the most of his small backyard deck by filling it with container plants and topiaries to create a quaint and intimate dining area.

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  • 04 of 30

    Add an L-Shaped Couch

    A small wood deck with an L-shaped couch and a coffee table.

    @gather_interiors_ / Instagram

    When space is limited, maximize seating with an L-shaped couch. Interior stylist Jen Boyce adds plenty of throw cushions and blankets to create a cozy and inviting space that doesn’t sacrifice style or function. 

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  • 05 of 30

    Build a Pergola

    A small wooden deck with a matching pergola and privacy screen.

    @jessicasmithhomedesign / Instagram

    A pergola is a great way to add some shade and help make your deck feel more livable. Home designer and interior stylist @jessicasmithhomedesign added this wood pergola with a built-in privacy wall to her small deck to create an outdoor sanctuary that has us drooling.

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  • 06 of 30

    Make It Moody and Maximalist

    A small deck with black accents and moody decor.

    @bythereseknutsenno / Instagram

    Designer and creator Theresa Knutsen made the most of her small rooftop terrace by painting it a dramatic shade of black and adding plenty of stylish decor and greenery. With a deck that looks like this, who cares how small it is?

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  • 07 of 30

    Add a Hanging Chair

    A small front porch deck with a hanging porch swing/chair.

    Heidi Patricola / Getty Images

    If space is limited, adding a hanging chair or porch swing is a great way to provide seating while going above and beyond your run-of-the-mill patio furniture. If you don’t have a covered deck to secure the swing from, try a hanging chair that comes with a stand instead.

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  • 08 of 30

    Build a Ground-Level Deck

    A small ground-level deck with patio furniture and a rug.

    @dreamgreendiy / Instagram

    Ground-level decks (also called platform decks or floating decks) are not only cost-effective and less work to build, but they are also a great option for small spaces. They blend seamlessly in with the rest of your yard, making the deck itself feel larger and more usable.

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  • 09 of 30

    Prepare It for Rain or Shine

    A small outdoor deck with a wood fence and custom overhead roman shades.

    Courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design

    Get the most out of your small deck by making adjustments that accommodate both rain and shine. Custom-made roman shades were added to this deck so that the homeowners can use it year-round.

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  • 10 of 30

    Add a Small Dining Space

    A small deck with a tiny dining table and two chairs.

    AJ_Watt / Getty Images

    A small metal table and chair set is the perfect spot for morning coffee on this tiny deck. Tuck the table off to the side to maximize space on the rest of the deck for things like planters or other decorative accessories.

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  • 11 of 30

    Use Trees to Make a Privacy Wall

    A small wooden deck with potted cedar trees being used as a privacy screen.

    @collettemrukpersonal / Instagram

    Privacy walls don’t have to be permanent additions to your deck. We love how Instagram user @colletemrukpersonal used potted cedar trees to create a living privacy screen that is easily removable if needed, making it a renter-friendly option.

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  • 12 of 30

    Add a Fire Table

    A small deck with a fire tabe and hanging chair.

    @sweethomevalley / Instagram

    Make your deck a place you will look forward to spending time on with the addition of a fire table like Instagram user @sweethomevalley. Pair it with some cozy seating and string lights and you’ll have the perfect place to spend your summer nights. 

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  • 13 of 30

    Forego Deck Railing

    A small low-profile deck with a white pergola and no railings.

    @jline_design / Instagram

    While certainly necessary for tall decks, deck railing can make a small deck feel even more enclosed and boxed in. If you’re working with a low-rise deck, consider foregoing the railing altogether like design enthusiast and home DIY’er Jackie LaRosa. Just make sure that you consult the International Building Code (IBC) deck code guidelines to ensure that your deck is built to code.

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  • 14 of 30

    Build a Covered Deck

    A small covered deck with a ceiling fan and outdoor furniture.

    Building Blue Bird

    Extending the roof to cover your small deck will help to make it feel like an outdoor living space that you’ll be excited to utilize. Blogger and home DIY expert Lindsey Mahoney from Building Blue Bird went a step further and had a ceiling fan installed on their covered deck to help keep them cool during those intense summer days.

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  • 15 of 30

    Add an Outdoor Rug

    A small black wood deck/porch with boho inspired decor and a large outdoor rug.

    @madeline.loves.makeup / Instagram

    Adding a rug instantly makes a space feel cozier and more inviting, and the same goes for a deck. Outdoor rugs are made from woven plastic which makes them durable and waterproof. We love the stylish black and white rug that Instagram user @madeline.loves.makeup chose for her small deck.

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  • 16 of 30

    Create an Outdoor Kitchen

    A small deck with a barbecue and outdoor bar.

    Eirasophie / Getty Images

    Outdoor kitchens don’t need to be large and elaborate in order to be functional. Pair a regular barbecue with a small wooden table or bar to create a quaint outdoor kitchen that you’ll be using all summer long.

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  • 17 of 30

    Add a Gazebo

    A small deck with a black metal gazebo and outdoor furniture.

    Kristin Mitchell / Getty Images

    Adding a gazebo is a great way to make your small deck more functional since you (and your furniture) will be protected from intense sun and rain. Grab a pre-fab gazebo from your nearest home improvement store, or go all-out with a custom-made structure designed specifically for your space.

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  • 18 of 30

    Use Turfgrass

    A small deck with turfgrass.

    @kenarpeters / Instagram

    Turfgrass is a great option to provide some comfort underfoot on a small deck. It also makes your deck safer, preventing slips or splinters, and helps the space feel inviting and like an extension of your green space. 

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  • 19 of 30

    Add a Hammock

    A small, thin sideyard deck with a patio table and hammock.

    Vivian Johnson Photography for Yardzen

    A hammock is a perfect way to utilize long, awkwardly narrow spaces that are difficult to furnish. This side yard deck features a small patio table for dining on one end with a comfortable hammock prominently featured on the other.

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  • 20 of 30

    Use a Table With Benches

    A small wooden deck with a small dining table and two benches.

    franckreporter / Getty Images

    While a full dining set can take up a lot of space and may not fit on a small deck or patio, a thin table with some benches provides the perfect spot for some coffee or a light snack in this small space. Bonus points if you find a set where the benches can be tucked away under the table when not in use.

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  • 21 of 30

    Use Composite Decking

    A small deck built with white maple-looking composite decking.


    Composite decking is a great wood alternative that is realistic-looking while requiring less maintenance and upkeep. It’s also more comfortable to walk on, so you can create an outdoor space that genuinely feels livable.

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  • 22 of 30

    Double-Up on Outdoor Couches

    A small wooden deck with two stylish modern outdoor couches.

    @vintagesplendor / Instagram

    Create a space that is perfect for entertaining friends and family by adding more than one outdoor couch. Blogger and Instagram user @vintagesplendor styled her small deck with a sleek and modern sectional and loveseat combo that looks truly hard to resist.

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  • 23 of 30

    Add Potted Plants

    A small wooden front porch with outdoor chairs and potted plants and flowers.

    Interior Impressions

    Plants are always a good idea, and they can be especially valuable when styling a small deck. Rather than worry about packing in patio furniture, choose a few small pieces and then add some potted plants and flowers to give the space a finished look.

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  • 24 of 30

    Create a Gathering Space

    A small deck decorated in a French Riviera style.

    Courtesy of Kathy Kuo Home

    Make the most of your small deck by creating an inviting gathering space to spend time with friends and family. This French Riviera-inspired sundeck prioritizes comfort and conversation by providing plenty of seating around a stylish and functional coffee table.

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  • 25 of 30

    Maximize Comfort With Throw Pillows and Blankets

    A small enclosed outdoor deck with comfortable seating and textiles to make it inviting.

    @myloveofcoastal / Instagram

    Adding throw pillows and blankets to your deck is an easy way to make it feel comfortable and inviting. We love how Instagram user @myloveofcoastal uses lots of soft textiles to make her small deck feel like an extension of her home.

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  • 26 of 30

    Extend Your Living Space

    A large living room with a small patio/deck that blends seamlessly with the room.

    Courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design

    Large folding doors and a subtle flooring transition help to make this tiny deck feel like a natural extension of the living room. Keep the decor consistent to really tie the two spaces together.

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  • 27 of 30

    Add a Shade Tarp

    A small deck with a shade tarp and a dining table underneath.

    Delpixart / Getty Images

    Even the smallest of decks becomes more functional and practical with some kind of shade feature added. If you don’t have the time or money to build a gazebo or pergola (or you just want a temporary or renter-friendly option) consider adding a shade tarp instead.

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  • 28 of 30

    Provide Versatile Seating Options

    A small deck with two large doors leading to a bright living room.

    Courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design

    Choose your deck furniture intentionally to maximize the functionality of your space. This small deck is outfitted with a chaise lounge and outdoor sofa to provide a variety of seating options that can be adjusted to meet the needs of the homeowners.

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  • 29 of 30

    Keep Furnishings Minimal

    A small deck with thin patio furniture and minimal furnishings.

    John Keeble / Getty Images

    To achieve a minimal look while keeping the space functional, opt for thin, low-profile patio furniture and decor. This will help your small deck feel larger than it really is, plus it leaves you with plenty of extra room for activities.

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  • 30 of 30

    Choose Foldable Patio Furniture

    A small wooden deck with wood foldable chairs.

    Kristin Mitchell / Getty Images

    Foldable patio furniture doesn’t have to resemble the ugly plastic lawn chairs your grandmother had. Grab some stylish wooden foldable furniture so it can be easily tucked away when needed.

  • What’s a good size for a small deck?

    The ideal size for a small deck will depend on your space and how you intend to use it. Small decks can range in size from 8x8 feet to 12x12 feet and anywhere in between. Take the size of your house, the size of your yard, and what you plan to use your deck for into consideration when planning out a small deck project.

  • What can I build instead of a deck?

    If you are looking for an alternative option to building a deck in your yard, a patio made from concrete, pavers, or brick is a great option that is also cost-effective. You can also opt for a ground-level deck using deck composite if you are trying to avoid a big construction project using wood.

  • How do you style a small outdoor deck?

    Ultimately, a well-styled small deck is one that speaks to your needs and personal style. That being said, there are a few general tips to keep in mind. Try not to overcrowd the space, provide seating of some kind, and prioritize some kind of shade or weather relief to make your deck usable for as much of the year as possible.